América Ferrera went from the token curvy girl to the boss on the set of Ugly Betty. Some have even cast her as a diva. But this strong, determined woman has a bright career ahead of her—hit TV show or not. What could be wrong with that? Writer Eric Parker speaks to Ferrera about her early school days, the challenges of working with her boyfriend, her "feud" with Lindsay Lohan, and her attraction to playing strong Latinas on screen.
HER EARLY SCHOOL DAYS:
“My biggest problem in school was that I talked too much. My kindergarten report card said, ‘América would excel if she just stopped talking.’ From there, I got straight A’s and it would still say, ‘Needs to stop talking.’ ”
ON HER NON-EXISTENT FEUD WITH LINDSAY LOHAN:
“Of course they want to make us look like we fought like cats and dogs, because people are going to believe it. And it’s total BS. It’s not true. It does such a disservice to the image of young women.”
WHY SHE LOVES HILLARY CLINTON:
“I really liked what she was about. She is smart and unafraid. And I feel like people can be really threatened by smart, fearless, active women—and that spans across every industry.”
ON ADJUSTING TO OVERNIGHT FAME AFTER THE PREMIERE OF UGLY BETTY:
“After Betty premiered, I literally couldn’t walk down the street without people recognizing and stopping me. It was just a shock. You’re not doing anything different in your life the day before, other than going to work every day and enjoying your job. And then it felt like I’m on this roller-coaster ride.”
THE MOMENT SHE REALIZED SHE “MADE IT":
“I knew very early I wanted a career in acting. There was the moment I realized I never have to go back to that day job. And there was the moment when I realized that people recognize me. And then there’s the moment when you realize, ‘I’m an actor. I’ve arrived. And I don’t ever have to worry about getting another job.’ I’m still waiting for that moment.”
ON CHOOSING TO PLAY STRONG LATINAS ON-SCREEN:
“It’s not anything I’ve done consciously. I’m just drawn to the characters and trying to make them more than one-dimensional.”
WHY SHE DECIDED TO PURSUE A DEGREE IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS:
“The decision to study that came after 9/11, which spun the world on its head. There was a feeling of not having been educated enough about the world and what was going on in it. That made me feel vulnerable and weak.”
Check out Ferrera behind the scenes at her Latina cover shoot!